ABCs "Lost" has done more than any other media before it to enable interaction around a brand on multiple platforms. It is the first truly pan-media experience, and that holds lessons for content producers everywhere.
"Lost" is everywhere. Its a television show that was born in a traditional analog world but came of age in a digital world where the very idea of "television" is giving way to the idea of ubiquitous, platform-agnostic video.
But the shows presence extends beyond just video. Viewers interact with the brand on multiple platforms. There are Web sites devoted to translating the whispers heard on the show. People track the literary works mentioned. ABC has even created fake Web sites for elements of the show, like for the band Driveshaft.
Today, your involvement with a show never stops.
Thats Why Lost Is All About You
"Lost" gives people what they want on multiple levels. At a very basic, nontechnology level, "Lost" confirms what most people suspect about the real world, or at least wish were true: Everything is about you. Like the characters in Pynchons "The Crying of Lot 49," the characters of "Lost" are navigating a world where every minute detail—from their friends to their enemies to nature—is connected in a matrix of meaning for them. Everything is a clue. Everything has a place in context. There are no accidental encounters.
Not only that, but the creators of "Lost" are actively engaged with their viewers through online forums. If you have friends involved with these forums, youve probably heard them (lord knows I have) talk about how the creators of "Lost" really care about what they, the viewers, have to say.
This very basic emotional connection is even more important in an online world, where the power of personalization makes "Planet Me" all the more possible. Media companies are trying hard to create online experiences that go beyond "related articles" and, instead, tantalize you with a truly contextual experience.
Given enough time, publishing giants like Time Warner will be able to link their entire catalog of content through a structured taxonomy. You may read a story about Wal-Mart, and at your fingertips will be every mention of Wal-Mart back to 1947. In every media format. Ever.